Friday, August 13, 2010

Back to Basics

I started this blog to bring some clarity to the issues facing North Bay Village and continue to be amazed at the sheer bullying and nonsense that passes for discourse at our commission meetings.

In a post earlier this week, I discussed an incident at Tuesday night's meeting. To recap, the resolution was to free up the red light traffic violation funds to prevent the layoff of three sworn officers. The resolution passed with George Kane, Frank Rodriguez and Oscar Alfonso voting Yes.

In that post, I referenced the behavior, the over the top disruptive behavior, of people in attendance, specifying Connie Leon-Kreps, current candidate for the Commission or Mayor.

Shouting at commission members, storming the stage, accusing the Mayor of being Castro or Chavez, are perfectly ridiculous things to do. We've grown used to this here in North Bay Village, but that does not change the fact that such behavior is fundamentally demagogic and far from expressing citizen involvement, assumes that she who shouts loudest is right.

I stand by my criticism of Ms. Leon-Kreps and believe she owes an apology to her fellow citizens for her crude outbursts and weird antics.

Well in response to that criticism, I received the following email from Dr. Richard Chervony, President of the Citizens for Full Disclosure. I have removed only one line from the email as it was a random insult directed at two senior citizens of whom he disapproves. The rest is verbatim including the spelling.

The email is entitled "COJONES" (caps, misspellings, poor punctuation etc. are all his) and reads as follows,

"With your latest rant you have degraded to the dredges of dictatorship as our illustiorus mayor.

The self declared candidate, CONNIE LEON-KREPS, at least has the internal fortitude and the COJONES that you are lacking and is running for something she feels passionate about. She will be a credit to the City of North Bay Village, she is a tax paying member of the community, pays her Federal Taxes on a timely basis and her mortgage payment is never late, ensuring that she will remain as a resident of North Bay Village.

As far as her campaign, it is not for me to say what her stands are. Anyways you'd never agree with me.

Kevin, it is time to PUT UP OR SHUT UP!!!!!!! Run for office or keep running with your tail between your legs and hiding behind the skirt of our Mayor and Comm Rodriguez that doesn't know how to speak nor offers the City any more time than is required by attending Commission Meetings. He will also have arough time running for office in two years. Maybe then you will havegrown COJONES and run for that seat."

Look at that. Seriously. Nowhere does it address the issue of disrupting meetings, or the resolution at hand, or deny the criticism I made. It is simply a randomly strung together series of insults. I should note that I find it surprising that Dr. Chervony, a native Spanish speaker and a medical doctor, seems to be unaware that women as a rule do not have testicles and he is certainly unfamiliar with mine. (alright, I didn't have to note that but I thought it was funny.)

This is what passes for discourse.

I had a second incident last night at the Citizen's Budget and Oversight Board Meeting. The role of the CBOC is to review and recommend procedures to ensure fiscal transparency in the creation and execution of the budget. Last night, we reviewed in great detail the process for the 2011 budget.

Now the budget we were shown includes a .5 mil increase in city taxes. In the capacity of a board member, I suggested to the city manager that in presenting the budget proposal, he seek counsel's advice regarding Resolution 2008-01 passed in January 2008 which limits the ability of the commission to raise millage. I've attached the resolution below.

Now, I've already written that I think it was a bad resolution and my concern here is that without a clear withdrawal, the city may be subject to lawsuits disputing the new property tax rates if they are passed by the commission. I made this recommendation as a matter of prudence.

Before I could finish the sentence, commissioner Rey Trujillo, without being recognized, began to speak over me that it was not necessary to check, he already had. I asked him to let me finish and he talked louder. Chair Al Blake requested that attention be paid and the commissioner acquiesced.

Look, I'm not a lawyer. Neither is Commissioner Trujillo. We employ two city attorneys for exactly this sort of legal advice. The resolution is unclear as to an expiry date and seeking clarification as to whether this resolution should be withdrawn prior to millage changes is a simple issue. Bob Pushkin, the city manager, understood and agreed.

I have made no secret that I believe Commissioner Trujillo's actions on the commission have caused the city serious harm. Nor have I made a secret of mine and others' dislike of the disruptive and bullying tactics of some attendees at the meetings. They in turn have their right to their opinions about my positions and writings.

I have never shouted anyone down, and won't, and I demand the same respect from others.

Ms. Leon-Kreps, Dr. Chervony, Commissioner Trujillo, let your arguments stand on their own. Shouting and insulting just make you look bad.

Kevin Vericker
August 13, 2010


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